Kane v Bellingham threatens to overshadow Bayern ‘fairytale’ and Bruno Fernandes’ QUIT HINT

Editor F365
Bellingham vs Kane
Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane

Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham are England team-mates who nevertheless played against each other on Tuesday night for their club sides.

Judging by the response to this event, such a thing has never happened ever before. Meanwhile, there’s a Bayern Munich fairytale and Bruno Fernandes threatening to QUIT Manchester United, as long as you ingore some of the actual words he used, such as ‘if’ and most crucially ‘not’. Mediawatch time, innit.


Let it never be said that British tabloid journalism is a parochial, small-minded beast as we witness an almost unprecedented level of coverage across the board for a semi-final tie featuring no Premier League side in a competition no longer of any meaningful concern to said Premier League.

Sure, that tie does involved two of the very biggest clubs in the world and a great many of its finest players, but still. How pleasing to see Bayern Munich v Real Madrid given so many column inches on Wednesday morning.

Shame that almost all of them reduce a rollercoaster 2-2 draw in which Toni Kroos and particularly Vinicius Jr excelled to KANE V BELLINGHAM: ENGLAND TEAM-MATES AT WAR but one can’t have everything.

There really is something genuinely quite fascinating about the whole tenor of the coverage here. On one hand, we can all acknowledge a certain novelty in the situation; England’s best two players both being outside the Premier League at the same time is rare enough without the frisson of seeing their teams paired together in a Champions League semi-final.

It was always likely to shape coverage even if one sticks to older ideas of journalism involving newsworthiness and not more modern ones about player names people are likely to Google.

But there’s no way the coverage would be so confused if even one of the teams involved were English. There’s a whole ‘despite being England team-mates’ angle that makes no sense whatsoever. They were not England team-mates in this match, a sentence so crushingly banal and obvious it should not remotely require saying. Nobody was ever surprised that, say, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard didn’t go easy on each other in Liverpool-Chelsea games and it’s not just that those games came in an era when club cliques dominated the England set-up.

Imagine for a second that Kane were still at Spurs, and he was preparing to take a penalty in the North London Derby only for Declan Rice to make an unsuccessful and half-hearted attempt to put him off by mumbling some sh*t or other in his ear.

Now we’d expect that to be a talking point, sure, but it would be an incredibly minor one in a game where literally any other stuff occurred. It would not itself be headline news.

You would not have had The Sun website leading the next morning with this:

NO PEN PALS: Ref forced to push Rice away as he tries to put off Kane before penalty

Or Football.London going with…

Harry Kane snubs Declan Rice amid North London Derby penalty antics

Or The Telegraph telling their fellow kids:

Rice ‘housery’ fails to unnerve Kane

Or the Mail breathlessly declaring:

Declan Rice is caught trying to put off England team-mate Harry Kane

Swap out Rice for Bellingham and North London Derby for Champions League semi-final and all of these headlines have been published.

And that last Mail one really is the best. Because it’s Real Madrid and Bayern Munich rather than Spurs and Arsenal or Liverpool and Chelsea or whatever Premier League teams you like, the national allegiance become all that matters, and the idea that at that moment both players cared far more about their club sides’ prospects than England’s inherently absurd.

That tone just would not fly when talking about English teams. Because Bellingham wasn’t ‘caught’ doing anything beyond entirely standard procedure.

When Jude Bellingham is ‘caught trying to put off England team-mate Harry Kane’ when they’re actually playing for England, then we’ll talk.


Tales of the unexpected
Into a category of its own goes this headline from the Mirror on Tuesday night’s action.

Harry Kane keeps Bayern Munich fairytale in sight after ignoring Jude Bellingham taunts

Fairytale? Now we had assumed John Cross had been stitched up by an overexcited sub there, but no.

Kane is still in with a big chance of writing his own fairytale as his 43rd goal of the season kept Bayern Munich on course to reach the Champions League final at Wembley on June 1.

Ah, yes. That classic fairytale where one of the biggest clubs in the world spends £85m to sign one of the best players in the world and finally end their agonising four-year wait for a seventh Champions League crown.

Makes Leicester’s 2015/16 season look like absolute sh*te.


Hey Jude
You’ll be pleased to know The Sun haven’t completely lost the plot, though, in giving over plenty of attention to something as humdrum as a Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

No, the top football story in the world as of 11am on Wednesday morning is in fact:

IRIS-ISTIBLE – England star Trent Alexander-Arnold spotted with Jude Law’s Christian Dior model daughter Iris on stroll in London

And there was us stupidly confident in our answer to the question ‘Which Jude will be most absurdly shoehorned into football headlines after not really doing anything at all?’ this morning.


Frank Bruno
Elsewhere, in the more mundane world of trumped-up transfer tittle-tattle, The Sun also bring us this truckload of guff.

A BRU CHAPTER? Man Utd captain Bruno Fernandes drops big hint he could QUIT this summer in shock TV interview

‘BRU CHAPTER’ is bringing Mediawatch out in hives, and that’s before we even get to one of our biggest bugbears, namely that footballers under contract cannot unilaterally quit – sorry, QUIT – their clubs and also that this isn’t even really what the word ‘quit’ means in the slightly less insane world that exists outside tabloid headlines.

But there it is again in the intro…

Bruno Fernandes has stunned Manchester United by hinting that he could quit Old Trafford this summer.

Pedantic semantics aside, the major issue here is, of course: has he actually done that?

And the answer here is, of course: has he f*ck.

But in a shock interview with DAZN Portugal it was clear that his heart is no longer fully in the club and he could walk away after the Euros.

Sorry, but no. He literally says the opposite of that.

Fernandes said: ‘Obviously, it doesn’t just depend on me, does it?’

A man after Mediawatch’s own heart. So even if he were threatening to leave Manchester United, he is acknowledging that the decision is not solely his. Not all heroes wear capes.

But there’s more.

“A player always has to want to be here, but at the same time, you have to want him to stay. At the moment, I feel there’s that on both sides.”

The second sentence there is very important, lads. He is literally saying that right now he both wants to stay at United and feels wanted by United. You simply cannot infer ‘his heart is no longer fully in the club’ from that in good faith.

“So, if you want me to be very honest, if I have to think about not continuing in the Premier League, it won’t be until after the Euros because nothing will be able to take my focus away from the FA Cup final and the Euros, as there’s nothing more important than that at the moment.”

You know what else is important? That second if.

That doesn’t stop The Sun, of course, who follow up with this.

MOVE BRU-ING? Five clubs Bruno Fernandes could transfer to in summer as Man Utd captain hints he’s ‘thinking about’ leaving

First up, that is already two too many puns relying on ‘BRU’. Second, Mediawatch flat out hates that clunky ‘could transfer to’ wording just to get ‘transfer’ in the headline. But these are minor quibbles, really.

Those quote marks around ‘thinking about’ leaving are just so disingenuous. The quote where he uses the words ‘thinking’ and ‘about’ is one specifically saying he’s not currently thinking about it.

“I’m not thinking too much about the future…”

You can’t just take out the word that makes it mean the exact opposite. This isn’t a quote on a film poster.

Also, ‘Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, PSG, Saudi Pro League’ is not a list of ‘five clubs’, fellas.

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